|Publication number||US8125347 B2|
|Application number||US 12/421,358|
|Publication date||Feb 28, 2012|
|Filing date||Apr 9, 2009|
|Priority date||Apr 9, 2009|
|Also published as||US20100259368|
|Publication number||12421358, 421358, US 8125347 B2, US 8125347B2, US-B2-8125347, US8125347 B2, US8125347B2|
|Original Assignee||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (39), Classifications (17), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to keyboards and displays for computing devices. More specifically, the invention relates to an ergonomic keyboard on a computing device that mimics a physical keyboard.
2. Description of the Related Art
Many small computing devices, especially handheld devices such as cell phones, presently have ergonomic and technical drawbacks with respect to text entry or text input. Mobile fold-up keyboards or keyboards that roll up, for example, have proven to be too cumbersome for many users or simply viewed as extra peripherals that have to be carried with the user and, as such, are inconvenient. Or they may be seen as too expensive. Some do not have a natural or user-friendly feel, such as not providing some type of feedback to the user, especially a depression of a key when pressed on. For example, a keyboard may be projected on a hard surface and have a conventional size, but typing on a flat, inflexible surface does not feel natural to many users. The rigidity of a table is not comfortable for most users for normal typing. Projected keyboards also require that the user keep fingers lifted above the surface, that is, ensure that there is no contact between the fingers and the surface. In another example, many handheld devices have dynamic touch screen displays where the display changes depending on the mode or function of the device. In text-entry mode, the display may show a keyboard. However, the keyboard is on a flat, inflexible surface that is rigid and provides no feedback to the user. These types of keyboards that are displayed on dynamic displays are also often uncomfortable for users to use for entering text or typing on.
Other keyboards that do not have these specific drawbacks (keys that do not depress, lack of user feedback, etc.) are often small or require that the keyboard slide out or be revealed by moving another part of the device or phone, thereby essentially changing the mechanical configuration of the device each time a user needs to enter text. Small keyboards on many handset devices are difficult for users to use accurately and efficiently. The keys may be too small or hard to read. They may also require character sharing (i.e., a single key may be used for two or more characters/symbols) which makes it difficult for users to type quickly and accurately. The keyboards often become too complex for many users and the intuitive feel of the conventional QWERTY keyboard is lost. Installing or incorporating a larger keyboard into a handheld device to avoid having to use some type of peripheral and to make it easier to type, quickly leads to manufacturing cost issues.
Thus, it would be desirable to have a keyboard on a dynamic display of a handheld or mobile device that provides feedback to the user in the form of a key depression when a key is pressed, as is nearly always the case with a conventional keyboard.
In one aspect of the invention, a device, such as a cell phone or mobile computing device, has a processor, a memory, and a display component. The display component is comprised of various layers or panels. One layer may be a compressible (i.e., flexible) touch sensitive layer, also referred to as a touch screen layer. Next to or near this layer may be a compressible (i.e., flexible) display layer. Another layer in the display component may also be a deformable or cushion layer for supporting a specific weight. Adjacent to or near the deformable layer may be a lower touch sensitive layer which has a coordinate system. A user pressing down on a key on the compressible display component at a specific spot creates a downward deformation at that spot. In one embodiment, the compressible touch sensitive layer may be the top layer of the display component and comes in direct contact with a user finger. In another embodiment, the compressible display layer may be the top layer. In one embodiment, the compressible touch sensitive layer may have multi-touch capabilities. In another embodiment, the lower touch sensitive layer may have multi-touch capabilities.
Another aspect of the invention is a method of processing text entry into a device having a display. The display may utilize an upper touch sensor layer and a lower touch sensor layer. A depression is detected on the display from a user finger pressing down on a key from a displayed keyboard. The depression may have a location value and a time value. A key signal in response to the depression may be created at the lower touch sensor layer. Utilizing the key signal, a keyboard symbol corresponding to the key pressed by the user may be determined. A decompression in a cushion layer indicating a release in user finger pressure is detected. In one embodiment, a compression in a flexible display layer may be detected. In another embodiment, a compression in a flexible touch sensitive layer may be detected.
References are made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the description and in which are shown, by way of illustration, particular embodiments:
Various embodiments of the present invention describe touch screen keyboards displayed on mobile devices that are able to mimic the feel of a conventional keyboard when used to enter text into a device. Embodiments of text-entry systems that may be implemented on dynamic displays are described in the figures. The touch screen or touch sensor keyboards described herein provide a user of a mobile device, such as a cell phone with a dynamic display, with a comfortable surface to type on. The user is able to feel a depression when pressing on a key. By virtue of using dynamic displays, a keyboard is only displayed when the device is in a “text entry” mode, thus saving resources when the user is not entering text. Keyboards on touch screen displays can use as much of the display area as necessary to provide a comfortable key size that the user can touch, limited only by the size of the display.
Text entry systems of the various embodiments, intended for use with but not limited to dynamic displays, are comprised of numerous layers. In a preferred embodiment, the text entry system implements two touch sensor layers. These two layers have a deformable layer disposed between them, the deformable layer, also referred to as a cushion layer, need not be necessarily adjacent to either of the touch sensor layers. However, of the two touch sensor layers, the upper touch sensor layer is adjacent to a display layer.
The layer immediately above substrate 302 is a touch sensor layer 304. In one embodiment, layer 304 uses resistive touch technology, which itself is comprised of various layers (or sub-layers), including electrically conductive (and resistive) metal layers. In one embodiment, touch sensor layer 304 is not flexible, that is, if pressed on, it will not compress or a depression will not form. For example, if pressure is applied to a particular spot on the layer, the pressure does not form a depression at that spot. In another embodiment, touch sensor layer 304 does not have multi-touch functionality. Multi-touch functionality is discussed in greater detail below. Above layer 304 is a deformable layer 306, also referred to as a cushion layer. Layer 306 compresses quickly at a specific spot when pressure is applied to that spot. It also decompresses or rebounds to its original shape (i.e., becomes level or flat) when the pressure is removed. In one embodiment, layer 306 is thin and may be made of soft foam, springs, air, or any other suitable material. Cushion layer 306 provides a cushion or flexible material (in the sense that it can be compressed) and is able to provide weight support for fingers or an entire hand. It should not be so soft that the natural weight of a user's fingers when resting on the keyboard causes compression of cushion layer 306 (i.e., sink into the keyboard). Layer 306 does not have any touch sensor capabilities or display functionality.
In one embodiment, above layer 306 is a display layer 308 which displays images, text, or other content. In one embodiment, layer 308 is flexible. It can be depressed at a specific spot when pressure is applied to that spot. It may be made using an emissive technology, such as organic LED, or a reflective technology, such as “e-paper” material. In a preferred embodiment, display layer 308 is made from self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) thin-film substrate or other plastic substrate. The top layer shown in
The configurations of these five layers as shown in
In contrast, when a user uses a keyboard that is positioned horizontally and is somewhat larger than a keyboard on a small cell phone, multiple fingers may be resting on (having contact with) the keyboard, such as with a tablet style computer or a mini laptop. If upper touch screen sensor layers 310 or 408 are multi-touch sensors, then the user can simultaneously touch (i.e., not have to press down on) one key, e.g., the SHIFT key, and press down on another key. A user can do this to type a capital letter or type another key that requires shifting. It allows the user to utilize two (or more) keys concurrently, much as a user would typically do when using a conventional keyboard. In another embodiment, bottom touch sensor layers 304 or 404 are multi-touch sensors. In this case, the user simultaneously presses down on one key (as opposed to simply touching it) and presses down on the other key. Pressure needs to be applied to both the first key, such as the SHIFT key, and the second key because the touch sensor layer needs to be activated by having pressure applied to it from the cushion layer. In order for the cushion layer to be able to exert such pressure, the user needs to press down on the upper display layer or the touch sensor layer, depending on the specific embodiment. In this case the user can still use concurrent key strokes as she would with a conventional keyboard. The difference with the first case (with the upper layer being multi-touch) is the amount of pressure that needs to be applied to at least one of the keys being used, as both keys need to be depressed. These scenarios are shown in
At step 504 the user presses one of the keys on the keyboard and feels a compression or depression and may also hear a click or similar sound. The operational software (that executes when in keyboard mode) detects this pressing down. As described in greater detail in
At step 508 the software determines which symbol corresponds to the signal created at step 506. This may be done by using the coordinate value of the signal as a means for identifying a symbol (e.g. a letter, number, punctuation mark, etc.) in some type of look-up table that associates or ties coordinate values with symbols. If a device can display different configurations (size, orientation, etc.) of a keyboard, there may be multiple such look-up tables. Techniques for determining a symbol in this context are known in the field of dynamic display technology. At step 510 the user releases the key or, essentially, stops pressing the key (which typically lasts less than a second) and the cushion layer begins decompression. In one embodiment, the material comprising the cushion layer is such that the original shape is restored quickly. That is, the cushion, which may be formed using air, foam, or springs, should not be too soft and should return to being flat very soon after the user releases pressure from the key. The display and touch screen layers above the cushion layer also return to their original shape once the user has lifted her finger from the key.
At step 606 the deformable layer is compressed as a result of compression from the above two layers. As noted, the combination of these flexible layers or panels of the text entry system provides weight support and mechanical resistance for a user's fingers or hands, which will vary based on the type of device (e.g., handheld vs. laptop). For laptop-type devices or devices that have a horizontal keyboard, the user can rest her fingertips on the keyboard without triggering unwanted or false key presses. Step 608 is the same as step 506 of
CPU 722 is also coupled to a variety of input/output devices such as display 704, keyboard 710, mouse 712 and speakers 730. In general, an input/output device may be any of: video displays, track balls, mice, keyboards, microphones, touch-sensitive displays, transducer card readers, magnetic or paper tape readers, tablets, styluses, voice or handwriting recognizers, biometrics readers, or other computers. CPU 722 optionally may be coupled to another computer or telecommunications network using network interface 740. With such a network interface, it is contemplated that the CPU might receive information from the network, or might output information to the network in the course of performing the above-described method steps. Furthermore, method embodiments of the present invention may execute solely upon CPU 722 or may execute over a network such as the Internet in conjunction with a remote CPU that shares a portion of the processing.
In addition, embodiments of the present invention further relate to computer storage products with a computer-readable medium that have computer code thereon for performing various computer-implemented operations. The media and computer code may be those specially designed and constructed for the purposes of the present invention, or they may be of the kind well known and available to those having skill in the computer software arts. Examples of computer-readable media include, but are not limited to: magnetic media such as hard disks, floppy disks, and magnetic tape; optical media such as CD-ROMs and holographic devices; magneto-optical media such as floptical disks; and hardware devices that are specially configured to store and execute program code, such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), programmable logic devices (PLDs) and ROM and RAM devices. Examples of computer code include machine code, such as produced by a compiler, and files containing higher-level code that are executed by a computer using an interpreter.
Although illustrative embodiments and applications of this invention are shown and described herein, many variations and modifications are possible which remain within the concept, scope, and spirit of the invention, and these variations would become clear to those of ordinary skill in the art after perusal of this application. Accordingly, the embodiments described are illustrative and not restrictive, and the invention is not to be limited to the details given herein, but may be modified within the scope and equivalents of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||340/815.4, 345/174, 340/540, 345/178, 345/205, 340/407.1, 340/5.4, 340/665, 340/407.2, 340/384.1, 345/173|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F3/04886, G06F3/041, G06F2203/04808|
|European Classification||G06F3/0488T, G06F3/041|
|Jul 14, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FAHN, PAUL;REEL/FRAME:022949/0852
Effective date: 20090617
|Oct 9, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Feb 28, 2016||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 19, 2016||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20160228